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Robert Guillaume Remembers The Lion King and His Struggle to Find Good Roles for African-Americans in Film

On a recent day in Los Angeles the charismatic, now-83-year-old Robert Guillaume recalled with little effort and copious charm the skepticism he initially felt at the idea of a cartoon film about a lion who becomes the king of the animals, for which the filmmakers wanted him to voice a wise mandrill-baboon. "When they first described it to me I wasn't all that impressed with the idea," he admitted. "It didn't make a lot of sense." Eventually the parts combined into Disney's 1994 classic The Lion King, and Guillaume saw what made it all so special. "I still think it's kind of a miracle, that it must have touched people very deeply when they first saw it."

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